Sunday, May 23, 2010

This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

Every once in a while I like to have a "Day Off". Where I get up make sure the kitchen is clean, feed people breakfast, make sure there is lunch in the fridge, and throw something in the slow cooker for supper. Then high tail it outta there for the rest of the day till it's time to eat and put the munchkins in bed.

After the last few weeks with all the trips to the ER, DH being in Alaska, the rain, well I needed that day off lemme tell ya!

I made some Chicken salad for them to eat for lunch while I was out (not pictured). 2 cans chicken, 1/2 cup Mayo, 2-3 Tbs Brown Mustard, 1/4 cup Pickle Relish (kosher or sweet, whichever you prefer), Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Onion powders, and Dry Parsley finish it off. They ate it with crackers, but it's equally good on bread.

For my make ahead supper (pictured top ) I did a chuck roast in the slow cooker. I use the frozen sliced bell peppers (no prep work, the price and availability don't change much with seasons either, and since I'm cooking them I don't mind that they're gonna be mushy from being frozen), 1/2 bag family sized frozen baby carrots (same as the peppers here, all the prep is done, blah blah) 5 LARGE potatoes, washed and cut up into large bite size pieces, 1 large onion rough chopped. All that goes in the bottom of the slow cooker making a bed for the chuck roast to sit on. I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and nutmeg (not much tho, for some reason it just goes well with beef, you don't really taste it, but you'll know it's not there). I also added some water with a few heafty shakes of Worcestershire sauce in it (just enough to see it thru the veg under the roast). Set the cooker on high and left the house!

While I was getting supper ready the kids started on the laundry, and while I was out enjoying a brunch with my neighbor and friend (steak and eggs benedict, mmmm), they got most of it done while I was out and managed to thrash the toy room pretty well too! DH had invited a friend over to play video games, so I came home to a second TV in the living room and lots of monsters meeting their demise.

I just cooked up some butter beans with ham seasoning when I got home to add to supper, you can cook them on the stove top, but I did mine in the a microwave steamer in about 30 min, in 5 min intervals (just cook till tender, check often as it will boil over and your microwave likely has different power settings than mine).

DD#1 had a pretty rough cough Sunday morning so we stayed home from church, and I made the crepes (pictured second) DS#1 had been asking for (for the past month or two). 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 Tbs melted butter, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 egg. Combine the wet ingredients then add them to the dry, mix well. Cook in a well buttered pan with just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan, flip when the crepe looks dry. We filled ours with fresh whipped cream and blueberries (I get them in the freezer section, cheaper than fresh, and I can get them year round).

Supper Sunday night was some baked Salmon and Eggplant lasagna (pictured third). DH gave me a hand seasoning the fish and getting them on the broiling pan while I made the eggplant. The fish were seasoned with Oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, dry ground mustard, marjoram, and in the bottom of the pan he put some water, Worcestershire sauce and a sliced grapefruit to steam the fish. Put all the seasonings in a small dish, and mix, then sprinkle to lightly coat the fish, dump whatever is left in the water below. For the Eggplant Lasagna I used 9 japanese eggplant (they are deep purple but long and slender, use however many you think you will need to fill a 9x13x2 dish), 2lbs shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce (we use a Chunky Garden variety, use what you think is yummy tho), about 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, and a mixture of 2 eggs, a splash of milk and a dollop of sour cream, with salt and pepper. Slice the eggplant thin and on the bias so you get nice oblong slices, and let them soak in the egg and milk mixture for few minutes. Start layering, first a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle on some breadcrumbs (think shake and bake here, but only one one side) then spoon on the sauce to cover, then a layer of cheese, repeat, on the last layer I don't put any sauce to avoid any bubbling over. I baked the fish and the eggplant at the same time for about 30ish minutes.

Supper was a hit, DD#1 even went back for seconds! and I think DD#2 would have liked it more had she not rubbed tomato sauce in her eye, ouch.

Pictured bottom is one of my favorite breakfasts (how I started my week), or snacks, or well, foods. A tin of Oysters smoked in cottonseed oil, a plain bagel with garden veggie cream cheese, and a cup of herbal tea. Breakfasts of champions! or weirdo's at least!

10000 bonus points for anyone who gets the song name from today's blog post. And also, my condolences as you too, are probably a video game widow.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Well, don't you know that other kids are starving in Japan So eat it, just eat it

Still no fever for DD#2, YAY! Called the Dr again, and they still haven't seen the paperwork from our ER visit, but scheduled the follow up anyway. So, progress?

Is it sad when the lady who just makes appointments recognizes your voice, or back story or well, YOU?

Friday is movie night, and I wanted to finish off the left overs from last night, so I let the kids have what they wanted for supper. Be prepared to avert your stomach, er eyes.

Hotdog Helper.

Which is, when you cut hot dogs up into lil bites, and cook them with the pasta from 2 boxes of Mac and cheese, and a bag of peas and carrots, then make the cheese sauce and add 2 Tbs of BBQ sauce.

Really, they only ask for this stuff about once every 2 months, cause there's SO much sodium in it that I think their bodies would die twitchy deaths of horror if we ate it more often. But they think it's fun every once in a while.

Also, I'm SO not taking a picture of this, I've a reputation at stake here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

goodnight, goodnight sweet baby

A while back my neighbor made some potato salad with Chayote (pictured left), sweet pickle relish, and green spanish olives in it, man oh man, was that the best potato salad I had ever had.

We had plans for her to teach me how to prepare this dish, but with the weather being horrible the past couple weeks, and then the kids getting the sniffles, and DD#2 taking that fall, she just told me to bring over the things I had picked up and she'd make it for me. (when she gives me the recipe if it's OK with her I'll post it)

I love my neighbors!

She made it last night and it chilled in my fridge all day. She even garnished it with some deviled eggs!

I just boiled up some shrimp (salt and lil liquid smoke in the water is all ya need). Made a fresh salad, and called it a night.

Also, I'm happy to report, that DD#2 has not had a fever since yesterday afternoon! Now, if only I could get her Dr to give us that follow up apt that the ER Dr. said she should have.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No more monkies Jumpin on the bed

OK, she wasn't jumpin on the bed. DD#2 was trying to climb up on her lil scootie car thing and didn't get her leg up high enough and tipped over, gravity took over from there, and she fell to the ground. Hitting her head on the concrete, and getting muddy in the process. Up to the bath she went to get cleaned off, and apparently have a seizure and then promptly fall asleep.

To the ER we go!! (and the receptionist is all, "Oh, it's you again")

Where we sit waiting. For hours. While people with UTI's and sprained ankles and the like are seen first (first come first serve I suppose).

Get to Triage where they take her temp, it's 102.something!! Where did that come from? She had been fine all day. Cutting 6 teeth but fine. Bit sneezy, but fine. Nothing that I would have been alarmed over. And really the bump on the head wasn't even bad, it's just what happened AFTER that made me take her in.

The Dr thinks the sudden on set of the fever triggered the seizure and not the bonk on the head, which didn't even give her a bump on her noggin, but the sent her for a CT anyway to be safe. The CT came up clear. We will be following up with her regular Dr in the next few days.

ALL that to say, I might not be posting the most fabulous things for a while (or anything at all), cause I've got a sick baby, and I'm a bit of a nervous wreck. I'll be back when things settle down, say a prayer for us, think happy shinny thoughts, and know that I'll still be cooking and will prolly think of some sort of silly montage upon my return!

OH! and we had Skettie tonight. that's from the last time I posted it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Concocting soup inside my nest

Ever forget you're cooking, till the smell works its way thru your stuffed up nose? And I had been wondering for like 20 min what that LOUD hissssssssing noise was! turns out, it was the pressure cooker full of chicken for soup for tonight's supper!

That was my Facebook status yesterday afternoon.

It got worse.

I then realized that I didn't have what I needed to make dumplings or biscuits, nor did I have any green peas, or any more carrots.

Also DH had the car at work and told me he was going to be working latish.

Here's what I ended up doing.

5 Chicken leg quarters in my pressure cooker till meat was falling off bones.
3 cups brown rice plus 7 cups water plus 3 chicken bullion cubes in a medium pot till rice is tender.
pull chicken out of stock/broth. Add 2 bags edemame and 1lb frozen corn, and the left over glazed carrots (that you rinsed thoroughly) and cooked rice.
pull meat off bones, enjoy.

I should have done more meat, because there was only enough meat for half the soup, the left overs (and what's pictured) are meatless, but taste meaty due to the stock it was cooked in.

I shouldn't have cooked soup when so distracted by not feeling well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You can't always get what you want

The other day I made yummy dinner, I did not however take a picture of it, cause I'm a slacker.

Also I didn't want to make yummy dinner, what I wanted was Coco's Curry, cause they have yum gravy and fried meat, and these creamed crab croquette things that are just heaven when you are craving junk food. But DH and I after running our errands as soon as the kids came off the bus decided the responsible thing to do was to go home and let them do their homework. BAH stinking homework, foiling my junk food takeout plans! (that up there by the way is what I wanted to eat)

So, here's what I made.

Broiled Talapia with Salt, pepper, garlic, onion and Thyme powder and a drizzle of Olive oil. broil till flaky and golden brown. In the bottom part of the broiler pan I placed a thinly sliced onion and lemon and some water so that would steam the fish while it cooked and prevent it from drying out.

Glazed Carrots with salt, butter, brown sugar and ground ginger. Just dump all that in a pot and cook till the carrots are tender, and the sugar and butter reduce to make a nice glaze. I think I had 2lbs of carrots, 4 tbs butter, 1 loose 1/4 c scoop of brown sugar (I just keep a 1/4 cup scoop in there and used that, but I wasn't exact here, no packing it in just a lil is all you need) and a hefty sprinkle of ginger powder and a dash of salt.

Steamed Spinach with ham flavor (by Goya) just till hot tho, cause I used frozen spinach so it doesn't take long to cook.

And some fancy twirly pasta with Parmesan cheese and olive oil.

I got my curry, a day late, but it was still yummy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

You might have to walk the fine line, you might take the hard line But everybody's working overtime

Things I learned yesterday:

1:Orthopedic Dr.s are sadists. Called the Dr cause my hand is still hurting pretty badly, I'm now advised to treat my splint/removable cast like a real cast till I am pain free, and they have no desire to do the second set of x-ray's the radiologist thought I needed 2 weeks ago. Oh, and to follow up with my regular Dr. 6-8 weeks from my injury.

2:Turns out one handed sympathy is short lived. DH was miserable from working in the rain for the last few days (who can blame him?). He also went to the store for me to pick up lettuce n stuff for supper, but no help cooking or cleaning from him or the monsters (uh, I mean kids).

3:And Taco Rice is on the list of meals you can prepare one handed. Prepare ground beef as you would for tacos, and everything else, just replace tortillas with rice. Although shredding the cheese was a bit tricky.

4:If on Mother's Day you get up make every one blueberry pancakes, then have to drive to church one handed, in a downpour, with a sty in your eye, and you feel a migraine coming on, you should have stayed home, in bed, cause Monday will SUCK!

Sorry folks no pic, wasn't in the mood for much besides eating and sleeping.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"insert violin music here" Beef it's what's for dinner OR "They're savages! Savages!"

We had the missionaries over for supper last night, and I really do enjoy feeding large amounts of people. There were 6 Full time missionaries 4 Elders and a Couple Set, Elder and Sister Savage. I had meant to cook for them about a week ago but my injury was too new so I had to postpone.

I let DH and the Elders chose the menu, and when you let 5 men pick dinner you end up with Steak with sauteed Mushrooms and peppers and onions, and Mashed Potatoes, and Pie (I threw in salad for good measure).

I looked pretty much like the farewell dinner I gave DH before his Alaska TDY. But with Mashed potatoes instead, and salad and no artichoke.

I forgot to take a pic of the houseful of people or the food, because I was just too busy cooking and enjoying the good company. The children kept them entertained while I cooked everyone's steaks the way they wanted them. I had everything else ready ahead of time. And since I've posted how on cooking steak (cooked the steaks whole tonight), peppers (I did use fresh now that they're in season) and potatoes (just omit the sweet potatoes) before I'll just link in the details.

The salad was simple, tossed greens, tomatoes, cucumber slices, and bell peppers.

The pie, I wish I had a pic of the pie!! It was GOOD.
for the crust (this is a triple batch)
3 3/4 cups flour, 3 sticks of butter (sorry, it's not diet pie), 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbs sugar, Ice water as needed to form dough. divide in half.

for filling
2 bags each frozen strawberry unsweetened slices and blueberries, about 3/4 cup sugar, about 1/4 cup corn starch, about 1/2 cup water, combine in a medium sauce pan bring to boil, simmer till thick.

Line your desired dish (mine was a large oval dish, because I was feeding 8 adults and 4 kids) with one half the dough. then dump in the filling, and I like to take large marble sized pieces of the other half of my dough, flatten and press into sugar (both sides) and then just cover the pie, it's OK if they overlap, or even if you have to make 2 layers. Think more noodle/dumpling than pie crust with the top portion.

Top with freshly whipped cream. Cream, sugar to taste, whip till stiff peaks. It really is worth the effort.

Dinner was a hit. The Elders were hilarious, one was spouting poetry about my cooking all thru the meal. Sister Savage was sweet in keeping me company in the kitchen and offering to help. DD#2 is smitten with Elder Savage while the other 3 children hammed it up. I have never felt so flattered about my cooking before, with the poetry and another Elder asking where I learned to cook, if I had gone to school or if it was just a hobby. I said it was just a hobby, but that some day I'd like to own my own lunch counter type place so I can cook for people.

They ended the night sharing a message and asking us to be mindful about our friends and neighbors, and in wanting to share the Gospel in a more natural way. Having them over and just inviting our friends to join us, instead of just sending them over on their own, which can be a bit intimidating.

I hope to have the Sister missionaries over soon. Maybe I'll remember my camera next time?
I also don't want to see a steak for a good long while!

i should warn you i go to sleep

I try to be sympathetic to DH, I really do.

They jerked his schedule around every day this week so his body, not only having to deal with jet lag had to try to figure what shift to work, oh and they only gave him about a day and a half off between traveling from Alaska and here. So when he said he wanted to take a nap I was understanding, especially when he followed it up with a "wake me when you're ready to start supper, so I can help".

Cause I'm in a half cast remember? Broken finger/hand?

So, a hour and a half-ish (maybe two hours) later I go up to try and wake him, NO DICE. That man is dead to the world. And sleeps till the next morning when he needs to get ready for work.

Now I'm left with a completely thawed pork roast that needs to be cooked or it will be spoiled and wasted.

So I do what every sane person would do, I take my cast off (it's removable) and make dinner on my own, and hey, my hand's not hurting that bad after all (for now).

I placed my roast in my roasting pan and surrounded it with chopped fresh carrots and Beni Imo (purple sweet potato) and one can of chopped pineapple and it's juice, and enough water to be level with the veggies. Salt and Peppered the lot and added several drops (10 or so) of liquid smoke and about 1 and a half Tbs of Chinese Five Spice (that's what it's called, you should be able to find it with the other spices by McCormick or in the Asian isle). This is an interesting seasoning mix that is savory and slightly sweet at the same time. There is defiantly some cinnamon happening there and probably some anise as well but that's about as far as I'm willing to go with my guesses as to what's in it. It will fill the kitchen with lovely cooking smells tho! Bake at 375 till veggies are tender and meat is about 165 internal temp (oo look at me getting all fancy with a temperature setting!) Since Pork plays so nicely with sweet flavors and the sweet potatoes and carrots, while not overly sweet have more of a sweet background than most veggies, is why I tossed in the pineapple, to bring that out, and the citrus would help to balance that some. The 5 Spice has enough savory happening that it's not overwhelming or cloying.

I also made some coconut rice, 3 scoops of rice in my rice cooker and 2 cans of coconut milk, turn it on. Steamed and acorn squash, cut up, scraped out seeds, place in Pyrex with lid and about 1 inch of water and in microwave for about 20 min. Scrape out soft squash butter, salt and brown sugar to taste (I used my fancy wheel of brown sugar I got from my neighbor via her dad in NY who is Panamanian, had to grate it, which was a new experience for me, but that stuff has a way better flavor than the bagged stuff that I use for baking!).

We didn't eat till about 9pm. Cause I spent about 30 min trying to wake DH earlier, and it turns out that while it didn't hurt my hand to be out of the cast, wielding a knife on the other hand is an entirely different matter, and slowed the preparation process a lot. My hand was so sore that I couldn't eat. The kids were so tired (cause bed time is at 8 for them) that they tasted everything on their plate and were practically falling asleep at the table, DD#2 fell asleep on the sofa well before the meal was ready.

So, this dinner sits in the fridge waiting for us to eat it Saturday! LOL

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And tell me what can I do today ’cause everybody needs a helping out

Been after DH to help me in the kitchen for a long time (read all our marriage). Simply because I think it's more fun to prepare food with people than on my own. The kids I can command to join me both for lessons and general gofer status, but how do you get a grown man in the kitchen when he has no interest in anything other than the final product?

Turns out the trick is to break my hand.

He chopped and seasoned our tiny potatoes that were steamed/boiled, mixed up and formed the mini meatloaves/giant burgers, stirred, flipped and helped dish out plates. I love him!

On to the food!

Field Peas and Collard Greens, plus 2 packets of Ham flavor and enough water to cover in my large cast iron pan (I didn't mean for them to be mixed, but this was the one job I could do last night, cut the bags open and dump them in a pot, and I wasn't paying attention and dumped them in the SAME pot! DOH!!, it was yum anyway). Simmer till Peas are tender.

Mini potatoes washed and cut (I'm not sure how many potatoes were involved since I bought a prepacked bag at the Japanese market) into bite size bits, then seasoned with 2 packets of that Sazon seasoning, and about 2/3 of a stick of butter and salt to taste, in a medium bowl with some water, a plate as a lid and then used the baked potato setting to cook them (pushed it like I had 6 large potatoes in there). The seasoning will turn the parts of the potato it touches a pretty orange but under that they're still white.

The mini meat loaves/giant hamburgers (depending on who you are serving them to in the house) are 2lb 97% lean grd beef, 3 eggs, a handfull of Italian bread crumbs and 1 Tbs(ish) of Gourmet Burger seasoning (it's got dehydrated bell peppers and onions and all kinds of stuff in it). Mash up and then we divide into 4 large loaves/patties. Sometimes I bake these and sometimes I cook them on the stove top, to night we did them on the stove top (cause DH wanted to man the spatula, and he prefers to think of them as giant hamburgers and not mini meatloaf, having been traumatized sometime before me by a meatloaf).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm back in the saddle again

DH is home, and was uber helpful in the kitchen last night!

We made some grilled chicken strips seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, onion and sage. Angelhair pasta with Alfredo sauce and 2 kinds of fresh mushrooms that I sauteed in some butter first, then combined. And lastly steamed some fresh (and frozen, cause I didn't have enough of either) green beans, then sauteed them with butter and soy sauce and a handfull of mushrooms too. MMM mushrooms.

Kids ate their dinner, DD#2 fell asleep at the table tho, poor baby is cutting 6 teeth at once. Fun for the whole house!

I was so busy enjoying DH's company and bossing him around (um I mean directing) that I forgot to take a pic (also the one arm thing makes taking pics a little awkward).